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THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING THE BIG PICTURE

Monday, June 07, 2010
Dan Callahan

I’m pulling duty at an intelligence community conference and (I gotta tell you…) I love these events.  I’m enough of an extrovert that I try to “work them” for all their worth.  What I mean is that I am proud to be a business developer, and I’m here for that purpose.  So there is clarity of mission.

 

One aspect, however, that challenges me is understanding the larger picture as the IC changes.  Comprehending the DoD would be a tough enough…but throw in the deep changes going on in the intel agencies and the defense industrial complex and it’s enough to make the head spin.

 

For starters, the FY11 DoD budget is not expected to be generous.  Be prepared to justify your product or services’ value as you would for a commercial entity.  The ROI that you describe or propose may not be financial but there had better be a clear connection to what benefit your proposal is delivering or it won’t get funded.

 

Secondly, there are many recent changes in the executive leadership of the IC.  I predict the new leaders will bring in new leaders, so get used to updating your org charts for the various agencies.  I don’t particularly mind, because this creates a need for adroit BD support.

 

Thirdly, the IT and mission leadership of my target agencies are struggling to take advantage of things such as virtualization, cloud security, (still) the last mile of bandwidth to war fighters in austere and constrained environments, true data fusion to support the intel analyst, enterprise cross domain, identity and access management at the deeper infrastructure levels…and many other issues.  The good news here is that these agencies still need our help.  As do the trigger pullers and mission support teams.

 

Finally, there is a perceived need for creative solutions.   The “same-old, same-old will” no longer get you the attention you want.  Be prepared to think out of the traditional technology lane you’re used to. This is also a good trend; if you aren’t proposing true innovation, now is definitely the time to rethink your solution.

 

Question: what other major trends are affecting your selling and business developing to the IC?